This week, companies from nearly every sector of the economy descended on our hometown of San Francisco for Dreamforce 2017, the annual tech extravaganza hosted by Salesforce. Over the course of four packed days and in 3,200+ sessions, 170,000+ attendees learned how digital consumers are forcing brands to evolve their engagement models, and what efficiencies cloud applications can unlock … all while having some fun with their colleagues.
Hearsay’s founder and CEO, Clara Shih, spoke at the conference along with headliners that included former First Lady Michelle Obama; IBM chairman, president and CEO Ginni Rometty; Citi Global Consumer Banking CEO Stephen Bird; and Salesforce chairman and CEO Marc Benioff.
Throughout the conference, several themes emerged based on sessions I attended. One of the primary discussions was around how we are in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the rapid digitization of information. There are now more than 5,000 marketing technology point solutions today, and the proliferation of available options has added complexity for any industry hoping to survive this Revolution, including financial services.
Putting the “Custom” in Customer Experience
Due to the regulated environment they operate within, financial services firms are struggling to adopt these technology solutions. However, if firms are able to put their customers at the center of their sales and marketing efforts, there are huge opportunities available. By creating customer-centric client journeys, firms can create real value for their customers that helps drive long-term client relationships – a critically important KPI for financial services companies.
One way companies like Citi are helping to navigate these pitfalls is through the use of cloud technologies. According to Stephen Bird, Citi has found that by integrating all of their internal data across their call centers, social media data, and other customer data, it is in a much stronger position to find innovative ways to build stronger customer relationships. These integrations are helping power customized advice for their customers based on life stage and goal-setting.
Another interesting insight that I learned is that financial firms have realized that their customers are expecting user experiences that are similar to Google, Amazon and Starbucks rather than other financial firms. This shift in client expectations highlights why solutions like Hearsay are particularly attractive to many advisors. By enabling client communications across multiple channels at scale, advisors are able to deliver truly differentiated and personalized client experiences.
The Future of Finserv: Robo + Human
A few years ago, many in the financial services industry were nervous about the rise of “robo-advisors.” Based on Dreamforce this year, it appears many companies are starting to embrace this technological trend as additive to the human touch. In order to scale across their entire books of business, advisors will need to leverage automation to help build these relationships. Those that do not adopt these types of technologies will be left behind.
I came away from Dreamforce 2017 very excited about the possibilities that these technologies can unlock for financial services. By enabling client-centric moments that matter, financial services firms will be well positioned to win in this new environment.